Decisions in Criminal, Civil, Administrative, and anti-SLAPP Matters

By FindLaw Staff on May 18, 2010 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

In People v. Vang, No. C059700, the Third District faced a challenge to a conviction for firearm and drug related offenses, claiming that the his sentence for felon in possession of a firearm should have been stayed pursuant to Penal Code section 654 because it was inseparable from possession of methamphetamine while armed.  In affirming the conviction, the court held that, because the offenses involve distinct dangers, separate acts, and separate intents, substantial evidence supports the court's conclusion that a felon in possession of a firearm was a separate offense from possession of methamphetamine while armed.      

In Laclette v. Galindo, No.B213615, the Second District faced a challenge to the trial court's entry of summary judgment against the plaintiff in her legal malpractice action against her former attorney and the attorney's law firm. 

As stated in the decision: "Irrespective of the lack of contact between Galindo and Laclette over a two-year period, the evidence established the following: the trial court retained jurisdiction over the underlying settlement; the settlement obligated Laclette to pay the sum of $175,000 at the rate of $3,500 per month; Laclette was paying the installments as agreed; and Galindo remained Laclette's counsel of record."

Thus, in reversing trial court's grant of summary judgment in favor of the defendants, the court held that a triable issue of material fact exists as to whether defendant attorney continued to represent plaintiff during the pendency of a settlement agreement in the underlying action so as to toll the limitations period in the malpractice action.     

Californians for Pesticide Reform v. California Dep't of Pesticide Regulation, No. C052373, concerned a plaintiff's petition for a writ of mandate and complaint for declaratory relief challenging the defendant's risk assessment process involving pesticides.  In affirming the trial court's denial of the petition, the court held that the factors enumerated in the Toxic Air Contaminants Act are not so different from the department's new risk assessment policy as to be a violation of the statute.  Furthermore, plaintiff's claims that the defendant has failed to implement the Act and that the process is an underground regulation are rejected.  Lastly, the trial court did not err in denying plaintiff's request for judicial notice of scientific studies.     

Tarlesson v. Broadway Foreclosure Inv., LLC, No. A125445, concerned a challenge to the trial court's order permitting the sale subject to a $150,000 homestead exemption in debtor's favor in a judgment creditor's action seeking to satisfy a judgment through the sale of judgment debtor's home.  In affirming the decision, the court held that the trial court correctly determined that the debtor was eligible to claim the exemption because the home was her principal residence prior to attachment of the creditor's judgment lien and continuously thereafter.     

Guinn v. County of San Bernardino, No. E047532, concerned a plaintiffs' petition for writ of mandate and complaint for declaratory relief in an action against a county claiming that, as a sworn peace officer employed by the county's probation department and a public safety officer, plaintiff was entitled to an administrative appeal to contest his demotion from a supervisory position during a "promotional" probationary period.  The court affirmed in part the trial court's judgment denying the petition for writ of mandate as Gov. Code section 3304(b) does not mandate an administrative hearing under the circumstances of this case. However, the trial court's judgment denying the request for declaratory relief is reversed as an actual controversy existed as to the rights and obligations of the parties pursuant to section 3304(b). 

In People v. Ceja, No. S157932, the California Supreme Court dealt with an appeal by the government, arising after defendant was convicted by a jury for both petty theft and receiving the property he had stolen, court of appeals' reversal of the petty theft conviction on the ground that the "greater" felony offense of receiving stolen property took precedence over the "lesser" misdemeanor theft offense.  In reversing the court of appeals' judgment, the court held that the rule against dual convictions (which was in effect long before its codification in 1992) is based on the premise that a theft conviction operates as a bar to a receiving conviction, and the Legislature gave no indication it meant to change this established practice. 

Simpson Strong-Tie Co., Inc. v. Gore, No. S164174, concerned a plaintiff's action for defamation and related claims against an attorney and a law firm, arising from an advertisement placed by the defendants addressing owners of wood decks that they may have a claim against plaintiff and other manufacturers of certain galvanized screws.  In affirming the trial court's dismissal of the entire complaint under the anti-SLAPP statute, the Court rejected the plaintiff's expansive construction of the commercial speech exemption, and thus held that, the complaint was not exempted from the anti-SLAPP statute by section 425.1(c)(1).  The court also establishes that the burden of proof as to the applicability of the "commercial speech" exemption of the anti-SLAPP statute falls on the party seeking the benefit of it. 

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